Carol Shields, one of the world's leading writers and a retired professor of English at the University of Manitoba, was the recipient of an honorary Doctor of Letters degree from the University of Manitoba in a Special Convocation held in Victoria, British Columbia, on January 4, 2003.
Dr. William Norrie, Chancellor of the University of Manitoba, and Dr. Emke J.E. Szathmáry, President and Vice-Chancellor, travelled to Victoria for the event.
President Szathmáry says she was pleased to be able to preside at the Special Convocation in Victoria. "In the light of Dr. Shields’ considerable achievements as a writer and as a university teacher who has inspired many, she clearly merits this honorary degree."
The University of Manitoba would have conferred this honour sooner but was constrained by one of its criteria that excludes current staff members from eligibility. Shields retired from active staff in 1999.
Carol Shields was born and raised in Oak Park, Illinois, and enroled at Hanover College in Indiana. She spent a year at Exeter University in England as an exchange student where she met Don Shields, an engineer from Canada. After graduating from Hanover College in 1957 they married and settled in Canada, which has been her home ever since.
She taught at the University of Ottawa and the University of British Columbia before coming to Winnipeg in 1980 to join the department of English, where she taught until her retirement in 1999.
Carol Shields' novels, plays and poetry have earned her a wide international audience as well as a long list of international awards. At the same time she has been an inspiration to students, aspiring authors, and colleagues as an articulate and compassionate participant in many reading and discussion groups throughout Winnipeg.